On Saturday morning, I resolved not to reach out to E., my therapist. I don’t want to need her, I don’t want to wear out her patience, blah, blah, blah. But the yearning only grew–kind of like your yearning for that cupcake your colleague brought to work right after you told yourself you are taking a break from sugar. By mid-afternoon, my head was full of nothing but should I/should I not.
I thought, why should I let Anxiety or Self-Loathing or any of their friends arguing on the I-should-not side override the longing for connection that comes from the my very young wounded self? Why not give her the power for a change?
So I did.
Hi. I’m checking on you on behalf of the littlest girl, who stands at her bedroom door and asks about you.
Tell her hello from me and assure her I’m here.
There is an artist named Pink. Look up the lyrics to her song, “Conversations with 13 Year Old Me.” You might enjoy it.
Okay, thanks, I will. It’s mostly a much younger part that I’m hyper aware of now. I need to attend to both her and the teen.
Makes sense. You might like “Diamond in the Rough” by Shawn Colvin.
I did look up those lyrics, but that wasn’t what I needed right then. The first line E. had texted, with its reassurance to the littlest girl, was enough. I know this whole crazy week started with a secret about the teen, but the door it really opened up was the painful vulnerability of a much younger girl who was afraid the one she loved and trusted wouldn’t love her anymore.
Two hours later, the little one was asking again.
You are there still.
I didn’t follow up that time. Restraint, I told myself. And besides, E. had just given me the main thing the little one was asking for. Don’t mess it up. But a few hours later, she messaged me.
Still here. Going out for a walk. Hope you’re enjoying your Saturday night.
Hey, thanks. Your messages help.
Good to know.
Ugh, yuck, that one message has made me crazy. So many good, reassuring messages all week long, and I became stuck on those three words “good to know.” They felt so casually dismissive, almost as though she had written “yeah, okay, whatever.” (25 Reasons Not to Trust Your Therapist, #16). It became another one of those times when I knew I was being irrational, but was completely aggravated anyway. I took up pages and pages in my journal with variations of “I’m so mad,” and “I feel really hurt,” and “she doesn’t get it at all.”
I knew this was teenage thinking. I knew she didn’t really mean it like that. But the brain and the heart don’t always connect so well for me. In fact, this week, my heart has been a bit of the fish out of water, flopping around randomly, desperately, gasping for breath. Even if I wanted to grab it and throw it back in the water, it’s slippery and slimy and escapes from my hands.
Indignation fueled my resolve, and on Sunday I didn’t reach out to her. I tried to focus on other things. I was surprised when E. texted me, late, after 11pm.
Hope you had a good day. Just wanted you to know I’m still here and still full of respect for you.
Fuck! Just like that, she threw the fish back in the river. Well, for now,at least.